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Child abuse charges dismissed against former police union president

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Felony charges of child abuse against Albuquerque Police Department officer and former police union president Stephanie Lopez were dismissed in court Monday by prosecutors with the 2nd Judicial District Attorney’s Office, but they could be refiled.

Former Albuquerque Police Officers Association president Stephanie Lopez

LOPEZ: Was charged with hitting teen daughter

The state “is still reviewing the case for prosecution” and conducting further investigation, according to the filing by Deputy District Attorney Lisa Trabaudo, who heads the Crimes Against Children division.

Lopez’s attorney, Sam Bregman, said the state had filed a nolle prosequi, meaning it was dismissing the case, after it had been pending 100 days, and that Lopez’s $5,000 bond had been returned.

Bregman said the state had made the right decision in the dismissal and that Lopez looks forward to returning to her job as an officer.

Bernalillo County sheriff’s deputies charged Lopez, 40, with child abuse in December, saying she hit her 14-year-old daughter multiple times in the face because the teen didn’t tell Lopez about an overdue utility bill.

Lopez, who became the union president in May 2013, caused significant bruising to her daughter, according to the criminal complaint, and also pulled the girl’s hair and threw her to the ground.

Lopez initially took leave from her union position, later stepping down, as Bregman said, “to avoid further distraction.”

Shaun Willoughby, who became president of the Albuquerque Police Officers Association when Lopez was placed on administrative leave, said in a statement at the time that while child abuse allegations are very serious, “I have only known Stephanie Lopez to be a loving single working mom who was doing her best to raise bright, caring and well-behaved children.”

Lopez has been with the department since July 2000.

In 2014, she was cautioned by the New Mexico Law Enforcement Academy Board for mixing her roles as a police officer and union president when she responded to a domestic violence call involving a fellow officer.

Lopez was also disciplined for an April 2011 case in which a KOB-TV reporter filmed an altercation between Lopez and a person at a nightclub.